Are you a shy writer?
Writing can be very isolating and it doesn’t help if you have any degree of doubt or anxiety about your work. While others may attend classes to learn how to write, you continue to proceed by trial and error only to mete with frustration and rejection. There’s a lot to learn and this is why, if you’re a shy writer, you may need to lurk and learn.
Writers like you, are unique characters in your own world–often in the head or spinning somewhere in the universe–but there does come a time when you need to learn the ropes in order to succeed and move your craft forward. Even if you’re socially awkward and the thought of functioning within a peer-group gives you hives, there are ways to lurk and learn and no one need be the wiser–except you of course.
Here are five ways to Lurk and Learn …
1. Writing Conferences
What better place to sit in a corner and observe writers all around you? You can slip in and out of different classes to listen to different speakers talk about the craft of writing. How does it get any better?
Writing conferences are set up with intended interaction but it doesn’t have to be yours.
Many people ask questions and hearing all the answers is a great learning tool. Perfect place to lurk, learn, and take lots of notes.
2. Read Blogs
Blogs are a fantastic lurk and learn tool. There’s anonymity for both the blogger and the reader.
As a reader, you can make a choice to interact (which is great because I love to answer questions) with the author, or not.
If you’re shy and afraid to make a mistake then just keep reading. Make notes of what you like and skip the rest. You can always like and follow and no one is going to bother you.
You can learn everything from what you like in a writing style, subject matter, or even genre. There are fantastic bloggers that do book reviews, many do ‘how-to’ posts, and many share personal experiences.
Yes! Blogs are a perfect tool from which to learn.
Way back in the day they had the radio where everyone gathered ’round to listen and hear something new and entertaining. In the last few years we’ve seen it making a comeback of sorts, through podcasts.
Again, this is a perfect lurk and learn tool because you don’t have to interact with anyone but can hear stories, tips, and recommendations from some of the biggest names in the business.
The nice thing about podcasts is that you can find one for almost anything. They’re normally quite relaxed but professional (not all but you can always turn it off) in wanting to build a group of loyal followers who want to continue to learn.
Perfect Lurk and Learn.
4. Writing Groups
Listening to an interview with a writer is like eavesdropping on a conversation where you can pick out the bits that strike your fancy and leave the rest. The podcast could open up and provide different points of view, new ideas, and spark interest in the writing being discussed.
Do you belong to a writing group? For some this may be getting too close to actually having to interact with other fellow writers.
You can make the choice.
There are in-person (or will be again once covid passes) or online groups you can join.
Each one is run in a different way depending on who is leading the group. Sometimes it takes a bit to get used to it or make the cut and find another. Some are all about critiquing others work and others may be readings or writings.
Decide first what you want out of a group. Do you want to get to know the other people or do you want to simply observe and learn? At some point or other you may have to actually step up and read what you wrote. If this is not a comfortable thing for you then step back and review the other four lurk and learns. This one may take a bit to work up to.
I think in a writing group you can lurk only for so long before people actually begin to recognize you’re there and not participating… so be aware.
5. Online Classes
One of the best places to lurk and learn about the craft and business of writing, is online. There are a kazillion sites that offer classes, mentorships, critiques, and almost anything else you can think of.
Every once in a while I’ll take an online course to test my brain and keep myself in the game, so to speak. I like the webinars which are basically videos you can watch on your own or you can see live and ask questions via the site. You don’t see the other participants and they don’t see you.
Master Classes are also offered online so you can listen to the best-of-the-best tell their writing journey and offer advice and tips. No interaction…just lurking.
It doesn’t matter how shy you are, there’s no excuse not to learn the writing craft and industry. Right at your finger tips you have so much information and so many personalities waiting to engage with you to any degree with which you’re comfortable.
If Lurk and Learn is your style–go for it. Take good notes, learn lots, and keep writing.